Tuesday was a day of mixed emotions for Shantabai Mhaske, a resident of Damu Nagar in Kandivli. While she was happy that her son Kishor Mhaske got married, she was sad she could not attend the wedding ceremony, as she had to stay back at the spot for the survey by the authorities. The family lost all their belongings in the fire and had to make all arrangements on Monday night. “I just went there for a few minutes,” said Shantabai, adding the couple will stay at a relative’s house.
Cylinder blast didn’t start blaze: Fire brigade
Gas cylinder blasts did not lead to the blaze at Damu Nagar in Kandivli (East) on Monday that claimed two lives and left 11 injured, said senior fire officers on Tuesday.
The fire department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has identified the spot where the fire broke out. “We had questioned a few eyewitnesses on Monday. A day later, we managed to reach the spot where the fire started, but we are yet to identify the cause. It is clear cylinder blasts did not start the fire,” said a senior fire officer.
While the residents have been provided with a temporary shelter, they refused to move away from the site. With various authorities surveying the area, they fear they will lose the opportunity of permanent rehabilitation if they move out.
Through the day, slum dwellers were seen looking for important documents and other belongings at the site, even as help kept pouring in. The slum dwellers are upset with the forest authorities for not rehabilitating them, despite paying Rs7,000. Most of them have lost the receipts of payment in the fire.
The officers of the forest department, collector’s office and the police have been recording statements of people affected in the incident. The police department has deployed seven police teams from neighbouring police stations, comprising a police inspector, a police sub-inspector and five constables each. Dilip Landge, an affected slumdweller, said, “We have been getting food, but what about our shelter? We don’t even know whether we will ever get it back. We haven’t been approached by the forest department. A police team did speak to us.”
“We don’t have any documents left to prove that we lived here. We won’t leave our houses until we get an assurance of rehabilitation,” said Sumitra Sable, another resident.